Cars of the Future – SMMT response

08 November 2004 #SMMT News

SMMT response to Transport Select Committee report on Cars of the Future

• ‘Great steps already being made’ by motor manufacturers

• Manufacturers investing ‘considerable sums in developing and testing new vehicle control systems’

• SMMT welcomes the Committee’s call for measures to be backed with adequate funding

SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan commented, ‘The Cars of the Future report recognises the ‘great steps’ the automotive industry has taken to address the important issues of safety and environmental performance. Government must take a lead in stimulating further R&D to maximise the UK’s competitive advantage in the supply of new technology to global automotive markets.

‘By leading the way in developing new technologies and minimising environmental impact, the motor industry is helping to make road transport more sustainable. Government must now heed the Committee’s call to show greater leadership in creating the infrastructure, financial and legal frameworks to allow these new technologies to benefit all road users.’

Cleaner vehicles

SMMT welcomes the Committee’s call for a non-prescriptive approach to cleaner fuels and technologies. Incentives are important in generating consumer demand. In the past these have been short lived and too variable, leaving consumers confused and disappointed.

When it comes to stimulating consumer demand, the current incentive structure is inadequate. Currently, consumers are not guaranteed to receive a Powershift grant at the time of buying a qualifying car. This does not help encourage people to take up the available technologies.

Intelligent transport systems

SMMT welcomes the recognition that the industry is ‘investing considerable sums in developing and testing new systems of vehicle control.’ Advanced braking systems, electronic stability programmes, and lane departure warnings are already available. Government must ensure that there is appropriate co-ordination across regulatory and enforcement authorities to maximise the benefits.

Consumer information

The Committee recommends the introduction of a green labelling scheme for new cars. SMMT is already working with the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership to introduce a new energy efficiency style label for new cars. This voluntary approach to environmental information could be available towards the end of 2005.

Motor manufacturers are leading the way in providing the appropriate training for their franchised dealer networks. Environmental performance is only one of the factors consumers take into consideration when buying a new car. The challenge for manufacturers is to deliver a complete package that meets all requirements, including style, price and utility.


The Committee’s report will be available at from Monday 8 November 2004


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